Most helpful positive review
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
on 1 November 2011
Sarah McLachlan is stunning; I discovered her with the release of Fumbling Towards Ecstasy, often lauded by her fans as her greatest work. It's where the sound, the tone, her voice, the lyrics - songs about love, betrayal, obsession, grief, domestic abuse... - and simply everything come together to create this wonderful, gut-wrenching, beautiful masterpiece. Some say it's now dated, but I think it stands unique in its own space in time - and maybe even more powerful now than the early-mid 90s, as though it was unique even then, you rarely find anything near that calibre being produced these days... Each of her albums is like an evolution; debut Touch simply touches at the edges of her genius, almost experimental in sound and in her voice and lyrics and what she's trying to achieve. By the mid 90s, with FTE and slightly more modern-sounding Surfacing, the genius is unleashed and will blow you away. Surfacing remains her biggest commercial success, and features two of her biggest known tracks: over-played Adia and the now-much-covered Angel. Perhaps after Afterglow, the edge has somewhat dimmed - a turn into a more main-stream sound, and lacking the meaningful lyrics - but there's no suggestion that she's `peaked'. Again - an evolution in her style, and of course the age. This Best Of provides a good overview of her work up to 2010 - tracks from all 6 major albums, in chronological order: Vox from Touch; The Path Of Thorns and Into The Fire from Solace; Possession, Hold On and Good Enough from FTE; Building A Mystery, Sweet Surrender, Adia and Angel from Surfacing; Fallen, Stupid and World On Fire from Afterglow; Don't Give Up On Us and U Want Me 2 from Laws Of Illusion. I Will Remember You was released on her B-Side album after featuring in a movie; Silence is a curious one-off collaboration with Canadian electro group Delerium. Whilst this collection definitely gives you an oversight into her work, it does only give you her `hits' which doesn't let you fully appreciate her full talent. FTE is so good that certainly 3 featured tracks does it no justice (I'd add Wait and Elsewhere if I could pick only 2 more) but then you could almost end up with a Best Of collection that only draws from one album - however, that's almost the case with featuring 4 tracks from Surfacing! This collection is also a little flawed in it's originality, simply sticking to what it feels constitutes 'Best Of' - a couple of live tracks should have been drawn from splendid live album Mirrorball, the piano-version Possession is stunning but sadly absent, maybe a couple of new and exclusive tracks could have been included, and where oh where is the tear-jerking Oscar-Nominated When She Loved Me from Toy Story 2?? And that this was overlooked in favour of Silence?? This collection therefore feels slightly disappointing, in that it's a missed opportunity to draw together a wide range of her work, not just giving new fans a starting point, but giving existing fans something special. If you are new to Sarah McLachlan, I would recommend this as a starting point to get a taste and feel, but to delve in you simply must own FTE and Surfacing - believe the hype! Existing fans will meanwhile own most or all of her albums, and will find nothing new here. 5 stars for Sarah McLachlan - 3 stars for this collection - 4 stars overall.